The world of enterprise resource planning (ERP) can certainly be a confusing one. We’re here to help you get to grips with what ERP is, the software Microsoft has to offer those looking for an ERP solution, and who the technology is best suited to.
ERP generally refers to the back-office systems (also known as ‘line of business’ systems) that cover all steps in an end-to-end business process, for example, procure-to-pay. ERP spans a wide range of areas of business, including financials, ordering and inventory, projects, resourcing, manufacturing, warehousing, and human resources. Some may call an ERP system the backbone of an organisation – it’s that essential.
ERP also includes a counterpart: material requirements planning (MRP). MRP is all about an organisation’s supply chain; with the right MRP processes in place, a business can effectively manage the supply of raw materials, resources, items for production, assembly and delivery.
Microsoft offer a wide range of tech solutions for businesses; their ERP-specific solutions are collectively known as Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP.
Dynamics 365 ERP consists of six modular solutions: Business Central, Finance, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, Commerce and Project Operations. To keep things simple, we’re going to focus on the two ‘core’ Microsoft ERP offerings.
The first of these is Business Central, formerly known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365 Navision. Secondly, we have Finance and Supply Chain Management (F&SCM) – two solutions commonly delivered together as a single application.
Between Business Central and Finance and Supply Chain Management, Microsoft can offer ERP solutions to start-ups, global enterprises and everyone in between. With no single ERP solution on the market that accommodates businesses of all sizes, choosing the right ERP solution for your current and long-term business requirements is critical.
As mentioned earlier, Finance and Supply Chain Management are Microsoft’s leading ERP solutions, packaged up within a single application to offer broad ERP and MRP capability for medium to large-scale organisations.
While the two are often deployed together, Microsoft chose to make Finance and SCM two discrete offerings as part of their broader strategy to provide more modular ERP solutions. This allows customers to adopt, and therefore only pay for what they need.
Those who know a little bit about Microsoft ERP already might have heard F&SCM referred to as Finance and Operations, F&O, AX7 or Dynamics AX.
When deciding which ERP solution is right for you, it can be difficult to determine how to achieve the right balance between the cost of the technology and the value it gives you in return.
To help you out, let’s take a look at the three tiers of ERP and how Microsoft’s ERP offerings align with them.
Requirements associated with the largest global organisations in the world – think Coca-Cola, Unilever or Microsoft themselves. These solutions are sophisticated, operating at a multinational level and handling complex business processes across multiple divisions and departments.
The lower end of Tier 1 includes organisations that are not fully global, but operate in multiple countries, often catering to a high degree of regulatory and system controls.
Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management is well suited to Tier 1 organisations.
Requirements associated with large businesses and small enterprises. Systems will be complex, but less so than those in Tier 1.
Tier 2 is much broader than Tier 1, so the average size of a Tier 2 company differs greatly between the higher and lower end of the spectrum.
Typically Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management is a suitable solution for higher end Tier 2 organisations, while Dynamics 365 Business Central serves the lower end of the tier.
Requirements associated with SMEs. Tier 3 businesses often operate on a domestic scale and may only need limited ERP functionality, for example core financials, and basic ordering and inventory.
Tier 3 solutions often have licences for third-party accountants to login, and are less intricate as SMEs simply don’t need the complexity and cost of a larger ERP solution.
Dynamics 365 Business Central is a typical Tier 3 ERP solution.
To put it simply, Finance and Supply Chain Management is typically built for companies who have an international footprint, deal with a large number of transactions, and need to cater to a wide range of business requirements. Complexities may arise from areas such as business uniqueness, statutory and regularity obligations and data dictionaries.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of characteristics that a business needs to meet before F&SCM becomes a suitable solution, though. Instead, it’s better to consider your organisation’s short, medium and long-term strategic objectives and explore ways F&SCM can help you achieve them before deciding whether it’s the right way forward.
Whether you’re confident it’s time for a new ERP system, or simply want to explore whether that could be the best move for your organisation, Tisski is here to help.
As a tech provider and Microsoft Gold Partner, we’re always happy to speak to anyone thinking about introducing an ERP system to their organisation – or upgrading a current one – no matter what stage of the decision-making process they’ve reached.
Having an open and honest conversation about your ERP and what you’d like to achieve is an important step in your journey. Speaking to one of our experts and exploring your options doesn’t cost a penny – and it goes without saying you won’t be obliged to take things further, simply because we’ve had a conversation.
If you’re hoping to invest in Microsoft ERP technology but aren’t sure which suits your needs, Tisski can review your requirements and recommend whether Business Central or Finance and Supply Chain Management is the best fit for your organisation – and rest assured, we will always explain how we’ve reached a decision on which is best for you.
If you like the recommendation we make, you can bring us on board as your Microsoft partner to implement the technology for you.
We’ll always quote honestly, taking care to consider long-term pricing and costs to make sure you aren’t hit with any unexpected charges later down the line. We also work closely with you and any teams that will be impacted by the introduction of your new system, providing you with the tools to ensure everyone is up to speed on latest developments and fully trained for when the system launches.
If you embark on an ERP project with Tisski, you’ll be supported by a great number of people along the way, from the project team to your dedicated account manager.
The first stage, however, is all about starting that conversation and if you do get in touch, you can expect to be introduced to Jason Newbatt and Paul Sinnott.
Having previously worked for Microsoft, our Business Development Executive, Jason Newbatt, has a great deal of experience in helping customers understand the value of Dynamics 365. Keen to become more closely involved with customer projects and highlight the important role a Microsoft partner plays in simplifying complex implementations, Jason made the move to Tisski. Anyone hoping to have an initial conversation about ERP would likely speak to Jason, who has 14 years’ experience in the industry.
Our Finance and Supply Chain Management Practice Lead, Paul Sinnott, has been working with Dynamics ERP for nine years. Having experienced ERP projects as a consultant, architect and an end user, Paul’s knowledge and skillset is incredibly varied, so he knows what it takes to deliver a successful ERP project. If your initial conversations point in the direction of an F&SCM implementation, you can expect to have more detailed discussions with Paul, who will talk you through ways Tisski can ensure your requirements are met and showcase the tech in action.
Whether you’re in the market for a new ERP system, or unsure whether or not it’s the right route for your organisation, we’d be more than happy to talk it through.